Urban planning in Bonn: These are the plans for the new western railway

Urban planning in Bonn : These are the plans for the new western railway

Plans for the Hardtberg railway, now called the western railway, are now on the table. The city is presenting a feasibility study with five options for a route from Endenich to Hardtberg.

Since the 1970s, the construction of a Hardtberg railway has been politically debated. On Tuesday afternoon, the city presented the first results of a new feasibility study. The project is now called Westbahn (western railway) and involves the reworking of old plans. In 2015, the city council decided to finally put an underground connection on ice and to consider only an above-ground route. The Cologne-based Vössing engineering firm has examined five options, some with sub-options, of which the experts favour options A and C. The head of Bonn's planning department, Helmut Wiesner, stressed at a press conference that the administration will present all reviews of the policy for consultation. The planning committee and the district councils of Bonn and Hardtberg would be informed about the results by means of a notification bill.

Favorite option A: This starts at the main station and leads in sub-option A1 there and back via the southern underpass, Poppelsdorfer Allee, Baumschulallee, Endenicher Allee, Wesselbahnweg, Endenicher Ei, Hermann-Wandersleb-Ring to Provinzialstraße. In sub-variant A2, the railway would travel out of the city on the same route, but citywards via Colmantstraße and Quantiusstraße. The study considers both solutions to be feasible. They run over a distance of 3.6 kilometres and involve an average cruising speed of 16.3 kilometres per hour and are located in the catchment area of 8,720 inhabitants. Option A3 with an underground route in the direction of the Stadthaus with a ramp to Baumschulallee would also be conceivable. An option for townspeople (A4) is not considered feasible by experts because it would involve the demolition of several buildings. This would run south of Endenich on the section of the A565.

Favorite option C: Options 1 and 2 would not start directly at the main station, but would extend the route from Thomas-Mann-Straße by extending the tram route coming from Beuel. The route would run along Rabinstraße, at the old cemetery through an underpass still to be built under the railway tracks and across Endenicher Straße and Hermann-Wandersleb-Ring, Provinzialstraße and Schieffelingsweg. As in the other options, the Südwache at Hardhöhe is planned to be the final stop. In the second sub-option, a bend would lead across Nideggerstraße, where a student dormitory is currently being built. According to the feasibility study, the catchment area in both cases currently consists of 8,249 inhabitants, the length of the route is between 3.7 and 3.9 kilometres and the travelling speed would be 16.4 kilometres per hour.

Further options: Option B from the main station through the northern underpass via Herwarthstraße and Endenicher Straße involves considerable disadvantages from the experts’ point of view. "The clearance height is too low for trains and the required width of 6.50 metres for both rails is not really available," explained Stefan Pieper from the planning office. The underpass over which the railway tracks run would therefore have to be considerably rebuilt. The same applies to option D, which would continue through the northern underpass and then across Endenicher Allee. The possibility to travel over Poppelsdorfer Allee and Wolfgang-Paul-Allee directly over the Poppelsdorf Uni-Campus and over the Flodelingsweg through Endenich exists only as a rough idea (option E).

What happens from now?: Head of Planning Wiesner said that it is now a matter of informing politicians and initiating citizen participation. As part of the federal promotional programme “Lead City”, the city had included the western railway in its list of proposals for medium-term structural projects with a cost volume of more than 200 million euros. "Exact costs cannot be seriously estimated at this early stage, nor can a timetable be stated," said Wiesner. The feasibility study is merely the "current state of work". The city has registered three major projects with the NRW Ministry of Transport in the so-called public transport requirement plan. In addition to the western route, these include the cable car to the Venusberg and the extension of the light rail line 63 to the industrial park in Buschdorf. (Original text; Philipp Königs, translation John Chandler)